Our Travel Christmas Tree: My Home Style

I’m excited to be back again this year participating in My Home Style: Christmas Tree Edition, hosted by Stephanie over at Casa Watkins Living. A big welcome to those of you coming over from House Homemade, and make sure that when you’re done here you hop over to see what the very talented Domicile 37 has going on tree-wise this year. And go back to the beginning and see ALL the trees if you haven’t already! Links are at the end of the post.

I wanted to post about our travel themed Christmas tree for last year’s blog hop, but I didn’t get it finished in time, so I posted about our white dinosaur tree instead. This year was down to the wire (and IΒ stillΒ didn’t get to everything I’d planned), but here it is: the grand travel tree unveiling.

travel themed diy Christmas tree

We bought a travel trailer a couple of years ago, and we’ve been doingΒ a lot of traveling since then (including a two month cross-country trip this past summer; you can read all about that on my travel blog). I like to incorporate things that remind us of our travels into our home (like my son’s national parks inspired room), and our Christmas decorations are no exception.

We have two other trees downstairs: the aforementioned white one with dinosaurs and then our real tree that we buy every year and string with colored lights and trim with every ornament a kid has ever made. But then I found this very tall (10 feet, I think?) tree at the thrift store last year, and brought it home for our sunroom, the only place in our house with tall ceilings.

I’ve always been bummed by how expensive Christmas ornaments tend to be in the gift shops we come across, and we’ve only collected a few of them. Our go to souvenir is the ubiquitous and much more economically accessible souvenir magnet, so we have an enormous collection of them. Last year I came up with the idea of using wooden craft rounds and magnet tape to turn them into temporary ornaments. So the “collected” in my home style words is no joke; we literally collected these from all over the country!

diy travel souvenir ornaments

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These are the craft rounds I bought, and this is the magnetic tape (though, full disclosure, the tape I bought this year didn’t work as well as last year’s, even though it was from the same manufacturer. I don’t know if the quality’s gone down, or if I just got a bad batch or something. At any rate, next year I might buy heavy duty magnets and glue them onto the circles instead). Complete tutorial here.

We also have collected a few actual souvenir ornaments over the years. This new one, of the Tybee Island lighthouse painted on a shell, is one of my favorites:

Tybee island ornament

And, of course, our trailer helps make all our trips possible, so we have to have a (cuter, way more retro looking) stand in for it on our tree, too (available here):

That’s as far as we got last year, but the tree never really looked finished, so this year we broke out an old atlas and went to town DIYing some finishing touches (if you don’t already have an atlas to cut up, brand new ones are not very expensive).

My husband and 14 year old son got pretty into making some origami stars using this tutorial:

And then we made a paper chain to wind around the whole tree. This was very easy, but it took FOREVER. I felt like I’d never done anything else in my life but cut strips of map and tape them together into rings. Such a tall tree!

We finished things off with this tree topper from Target. It lights up, but I just got it, and I haven’t gotten around to plugging it in yet. There was supposed to be a different, DIY tree topper, but that didn’t happen this year!

And of course I had to get this retro trailer (also Target) to sit under the tree. I’ve seen it all over the internet this year, so I’m not the only one who loves it.

And then, finally, I used this great retro US map tablecloth that I got for my birthday a couple of years ago as a tree skirt.

our travel themed Christmas tree at night

Hope you enjoyed my collected, eclectic, and a little bit quirky travel-themed Christmas tree (and maybe even found some inspiration on bringing your own travel memories into your home). Now spend some time checking out a whole bunch more fabulous trees!

Travel themed Christmas tree with lots of DIY ornaments and deorations: bring your travel memories home!


My Home Style Christmas tree Edition


Casa Watkins Living

Up To Date Interiors

Monica Wants It


House Homemade

Boxy Colonial

Domicile 37

Iris Nacole

The Happy Housie


Cuckoo 4 Design

Craftivity Designs

The Home I Create

Deeply Southern Home

Setting For Four

Little Red Brick House


Twelve on Main

Redhead Can Decorate

PMQ for Two

Jeweled Interiors

The Gathered Home


A Designer At Home

The DIY Mommy

DIY Decor Mom

Houseful of Handmade

DIY Beautify











Our Travel Christmas Tree: My Home Style — 35 Comments

  1. your tree is so awesome! I love the ornament idea and the map garland. I know my kids would love as much as I do. Such a great idea.

  2. What a fun idea! I can see this tree being so special to create. I will definitely keep this idea in mind for next year! the chain is fabulous so are the magnet ornaments. I also spy a See Rock City little bird house, I live in Chattanooga :).

    • Thank you! The Rock City ornament is one of the first travel ornaments we bought–many years ago–we love visiting Chattanooga!

  3. Gretchen you always have a super creative tree. I adored your tree last year and adore this year’s tree even more. Beautiful display of memories and family.

  4. Love your tree! I am not always a fan of themed trees but this one is perfect since the theme really means something to your family. And how fun to get a reminder of everywhere you have traveled each year as you decorate for Christmas!

  5. Such a perfect tree for your family, Gretchen! And the magnet idea, I remember when you shared it last year, is so smart to save a bit on souvenirs. My husband has always collected magnets on trips, so maybe this is something I should round up for him — his own mini travel tree with magnet ornaments.

    • Thank you! I love collecting magnets, but then it’s hard to know what to DO with all of them…so I like that mine can multitask :).

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